portrait of professor and dean anthony w. crowell

Anthony W. Crowell

Dean and President
Professor of Law

Anthony W. Crowell

Dean and President
Professor of Law

Anthony W. Crowell is New York Law School’s 16th Dean and President. He has served in the role since May 2012 and has taught state and local government law at NYLS since 2003.

As a first-generation student and a long-time New York City public servant, Dean Crowell proudly reintroduced NYLS as New York’s law school. Dean Crowell’s management philosophy is rooted in his experience as a senior executive in New York City government for more than a decade, where he served as Counselor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Under his leadership, NYLS issued its first comprehensive Strategic Plan, annual progress reports on that plan, and a new 2020 Strategic Plan; published an Institutional Diversity Plan; built an Office of Diversity and Inclusion; adopted a dynamic and successful new curriculum—Think BIG—and strengthened academic and bar success programs.

He has also led the creation of new academic centers that capitalize on New York City’s fastest-growing job sectors, including the Innovation Center for Law and Technology, the Impact Center for Public Interest Law, and the Institute for the Business of Law, which focuses on legal technology. Under Dean Crowell, NYLS became one of the first law schools to combine its academic planning and career development functions into a seamless unit, maximizing the student advising experience. NYLS also launched its Social Justice Hub, which houses a specialized public interest advising office and provides co-working space to four national legal advocacy nonprofits.

Consistent with his belief in the value of place-based learning, Dean Crowell has dramatically expanded clinical and experiential learning programs. Under his leadership, NYLS received one of the largest gifts in its nearly 130-year history, establishing The Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity. This sophisticated, high-tech training center is home to NYLS’s 20-plus clinics and experiential learning programs.

Having earned his J.D. as an evening student and while working full-time, Dean Crowell has committed significant resources to strengthen NYLS’s 125-year-old Evening Division. Under his tenure, NYLS has established new funding for evening student resources and is building a 21st-century Evening Division that meets the needs of today’s students.

For its efforts, NYLS has received top rankings and accolades in clinical and experiential learning, diversity and inclusion, and a host of legal specialty areas. Dean Crowell has been honored as Faculty Member of the Year by the NYLS Black Law Students Association, named one of the “People to Watch in Higher Education” by Crain’s New York Business (the only law dean to make the list), and recognized as one of the “Law Power 100” and among the “50 most influential people in academia statewide” by City & State New York. In June 2020, he was named to the Crain’s New York Business list of “Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives.”

In his prior role as Counselor to New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Dean Crowell was counsel and a senior management and policy advisor to the Mayor, as well as general counsel to the Office of the Mayor. For more than a decade in City Hall, he successfully managed a broad portfolio of legal, regulatory, legislative, governance, administrative, and operational matters focused on enhancing New York City’s performance, competitiveness, accountability, and public integrity. He also worked on numerous civil rights and government-access initiatives affecting women, immigrants, and people with disabilities. He served as the Mayor’s liaison to the LGBTQ community at a groundbreaking time in the state’s history. Dean Crowell also chaired the city’s Panel on Regulatory Review; sat on various boards dealing with pensions, procurement, and franchises and concessions; and served as Executive Director, Counsel, or Commissioner of six city Charter Revision Commissions.

From 2002 to 2006, he served as Special Counsel to the Mayor. From 1997 to 2002, he was an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department’s Tax & Condemnation and Legal Counsel Divisions, where he handled complex litigation, advised on the legality of disputed policy issues, and drafted legislation and regulations for the Mayor and city agencies. In 2001, he served as counsel to the city’s Family Assistance Center, aiding families of 9/11 victims and directing the city’s World Trade Center Death Certificate Program. From 1992 to 1997, Dean Crowell worked in Washington, D.C. at the International City/County Management Association, where he managed government affairs and policy, focusing on priority areas including the environment, telecommunications, urban renewal, and criminal justice. He was also a law clerk at the State and Local Legal Center, where he assisted in the preparation of amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in numerous cases involving constitutional federalism.

Dean Crowell is an active and recognized member of New York City’s legal and civic communities. He is a recipient of the New York City Bar Association’s Outstanding Municipal Attorney Award and the author of numerous articles, practice materials, and other publications on state and local government law topics. Since 2013, he has served as a mayoral appointee to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, the city’s ethics board. He is Vice Chair and former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Brooklyn Public Library, the nation’s fifth largest library system. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Citizens Union Foundation and the Congressional Award Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Dean Crowell received his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied urban policy, and his J.D. cum laude from American University. He is a member of the bars of New York and New Jersey. He previously taught at Brooklyn Law School for 12 years.

Law Review & Scholarly Articles

Revisionists’ History: A Foreword (Symposium: Process, Powers, and Lessons for the Future: 25 Years of the New York City Charter Revisions), 58 NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL LAW REVIEW 11- 16 (2013-2014).

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